ASA Adjudication on Transport For London
Transport For London
42-50 Victoria Street
Mayor of London
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
The Queen's Walk
7 November 2007
Holidays and travel
Number of complaints:
M & C Saatchi
A regional press ad and poster, that promoted the Oyster card scheme, was headlined "THE BIG FREEZE SINGLE BUS FARES STAY AT 2000 PRICES WITH OYSTER". Text stated "If you haven't yet got an Oyster card get one at Oyster Ticket Stops or online at tfl.gov.uk/oyster".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because she believed off-peak bus fares on the Oyster card had recently increased and that the 'freeze' applied only to fares at the new price.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
Transport for London (TfL) said the ad was one in a series of four, which were designed to encourage readers to switch from paying cash, for single bus and Tube journeys, to the Oyster Card scheme. TfL sent a breakdown of the pricing structure for bus fares since 2000. The breakdown showed the price of cash single bus fares, including journeys in zone 1, was £1.00 from 09 January 2000 to 02 January 2005. Journeys outside zone 1 were £0.70 until 04 January 2004 when they increased to £1.00. The breakdown also showed that the corresponding Oyster Card fare for peak time travel rose from £0.70 to £0.80 on 02 January 2005 and then to £1.00 on 27 February 2005.
TfL accepted that the single bus fare on the Oyster Card scheme increased to £0.80 in January 2005, which rendered it £0.10 more than the single bus fare outside zone 1 in 2000. They maintained that the issue had been raised previously and that they had amended the ad to include the disclaimer "compares single journeys made in 2000 which included zone 1". TfL pointed out, however, that from 30 September 2007, Oyster Card fares were reduced to £0.90 and, consequently, they had no plans to use the ad again.
The ASA noted the single bus fare within zone 1 was the same as it had been in 2000. However, because the single cash fare outside zone 1 was now more expensive than it had been in 2000. We concluded that the claim was likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).
We noted TfL had no plans to use the ad again.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)